By Samindra Kunti, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Hollywood-star Morgan Freeman along and desperate housewife Eva Longaria hosted the 2013 Laureus Award at the Theatro Municipal in Centro Rio last night. Jamaican Usain Bolt won the Laureus Award for best male athlete, and there was triple British success as for Jessica Ennis, Andy Murray and Sebastian Coe as well as Brazilian Paralympic star Daniel Dias.
The Laureus World Sports Awards are the Oscars of sports and part of the Laureus foundation. Spokesman Michael Johnson explains: “Laureus is an organization using sports as a tool for social change with a primary focus on children.”
His words are a fair reflection of Nelson Mandela’s philosophy, the patron of Laureus, who believes sports can change the world.
Six individual gold medals at the London Paralympics earned Brazilian Daniel Dias the first major award of the evening – Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability.
Dias was grateful: “A lot of training and a lot of dedication got me here.” Andy Murray was hailed as the breakthrough of 2012, testimony to his U.S. Open victory and Olympic gold medal.
In other awards, Jessica Ennis. British star during the Olympic Games, picked up the award as Sportswoman of the Year. The 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award went to Sebastian Coe. Steve Redgrave summed up the spirit of the evening though: “Laureus is about people who have achieved the ultimate in their sport and want to use sports to change the world. It is about Sport for the Good. In Rio, a glamorous city, it will happen.”
Absent at the ceremony, Jamaican Usain Bolt won the award for best male athlete for the third time (2009, 2010, and 2013) accepted the award through a video: “For me it’s an honor, I managed to overcome many tough competitors, I would like to thank the fans, family, was a very difficult year for me despite the achievements and win the Laureus again is a great pleasure.” he said.
* The Rio Times Daily Updates feature is offered to help keep you up-to-date with important news as it happens.